Bringing Home The Gold & More

14 Jan
Look but don't touch

Look but don’t touch!

The team gathered to congratulate Cristiano & Sergio and check out their awards before the training session. Cristiano will present the Ballon D’or to the Bernabeu on January 25th. He’s the 6th Madrid player to win the honor after Di Stéfano (1957 and 1959), Kopa (1958), Figo (2000), Ronaldo (2002) and Cannavaro (2006).

Marcelo got his pose on with the Ballon D'Or as well.

Marcelo got his pose on with the Ballon D’Or as well.

And then the team got down to business. Tomorrow is the second leg of the Copa Del Rey against Osasuna. Ugh.  You know that scene in Total Recall where Lori kicks Quaid in the face and says “That’s for making me come to Mars” *That’s* I feel about Osasuna (and Williamsburg in Brooklyn – seriously).

Proud enough to burst Carlo had his presser today.

811-216-_HEL1339Thumb,8FROM REALMADRID.COM

Ancelotti: “The Real Madrid family must be delighted for Cristiano Ronaldo”
by Alberto Navarro

“We have an intense game against Osasuna, but we shouldn’t think that we hold an advantage and we have to try and score as soon as possible” stated the Real Madrid manager about the return leg of the round of the last 16 of the Copa del Rey

Carlo Ancelotti appeared at the press conference of the Real Madrid Football City on the eve of the match against Osasuna. The Italian manager confirmed that “Coentrão will start the match and Modric and Marcelo will be rested”; he also congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo on being crowned the Ballon d’Or winner: “It’s a great day because we have congratulated Cristiano Ronaldo on a well-deserved award. The Real Madrid family must be delighted and he certainly is because he has worked very hard to win it. The Ballon d’Or was a major inspiration for him this year and it will be again next year. It gives him more responsibility because you can ask for even more from a Ballon d’Or winner, although that would not easy given what he has already achieved, but I am brave enough to ask him. He really enjoys what he does and he puts a lot of work into being the best. It’s an award for all his work”.

The Italian also spoke about the qualities of the Real Madrid forward: “I have not been surprised by his quality and goal-scoring capabilities, but his personality and capacity for sacrifice on and off the pitch have taken me a little by surprise. He sets a fine example for young players. He doesn’t protest either and he is a very good representative for football. Football needs these types of players to improve its image; you could say the same about Messi, Ribery, Thiago Silva, Pirlo, etc. He’s a great player and a great professional. There are many examples of very talented players who do not last so long because they do not have the same professionalism. In modern football, you have to earn the right to show off your talents by putting in the hard work. It’s an essential combination”.

Ancelotti assessed the return leg of the round of the last 16 of the Copa del Rey against Osasuna: “The team are focused and up for the game. Everyone knows how tough it is to play there. It will be a very intense game and our opponents will do everything they can to get through to the next round. We shouldn’t think that we hold an advantage and we have to try to score as soon as possible”. And regarding the win last Sunday in Cornellá-El Prat and the game this Saturday against Betis, he said: “There is no such thing as an easy win, especially away from home. We beat Espanyol 0-1, but the margin of victory could have been even greater because we had a whole host of chances. When your lead is so narrow, it’s always tough to negotiate the final minutes of the game. It was not a great score line but it was a good game. I don’t want to think about the match against Betis because we are now fully focused on the Osasuna game. I’d rather talk about that at the next press conference”.

When asked about his team’s great start to the year and the three consecutive clean sheets, he was clear as he stated: “It’s started well, but we have to keep working hard because problems can arise at any time. The two central defenders are playing really well and Ramos has begun the year with great focus and strength…The improvement is also down to them”. And regarding Pepe, he said: “I don’t know what has happened in previous seasons. When I arrived, I thought that the central defenders of Real Madrid were very good and I asked them to stay. Everyone gets on with him and I know that in some previous games he was very fierce in his play, but I think that he is a correct, serious and professional footballer who feels something special when he puts on the Real Madrid shirt”.

They were not the only defenders that the Real Madrid manager referred to: He was also questioned about Varane and Coentrão. About the French defender, he explained that “he is carrying out an individual work programme and this week he is doing everything required to be able to train with the team next week. He has the potential to be the next Thiago Silva or Ramos. The first thing he has to do is completely recover from his injury”. Regarding the full-back, he pointed out that “he is feeling fine and tomorrow he will be named in the squad and will play. He has been working well for a fortnight now and he is looking forward to playing. He will be ready to play tomorrow. Marcelo is rested for tomorrow because he is feeling a tad jaded”. (Um, I think we got a translation fail there, RM! – Lozil)

As regards the magnificent form shown by Modric at the start of 2014, he said: “It is normal for a player to find it tough to settle into a new culture at the start but he now has more confidence and awareness of the club and his team mates. His form is good and tomorrow he will be rested”. When asked if Bale had failed to contribute in the last few games, he suggested: “In the last few games he hasn’t contributed a lot but that doesn’t mean he isn’t settled. He was injured and has recovered well. For him, it’s important to be fully fit to show his talent”.

Finally, Ancelotti was questioned about the recruitment of Seedorf as manager of Milan: “I was his manager. He had a very big personality and he has the skills for this new experience. He knows the club inside out and I think that Milan has taken this kind of decision in the past with Sachi or Capello. It has always come off for them and I wish both Seedorf and Milan all the best”.

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Casillas, Diego López & Jesús.
Defenders: Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Carvajal, Arbeloa & Nacho.
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Bale, Casemiro, Di María, Isco & Illarra.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Jesé & Morata.

375-567-RAUL-VESTUARIO_IMG-20140114-WA0006Thumb,0Raul visited our U16 team that is playing in the 3rd Al Kass International Cup in Doha, Qatar. It’s so weird seeing the kids looming over him height wise. He always seems like such a larger than life character, you know?

– Lozil

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